PPE row

Mone’s husband says couple ‘treated like a punchbag’

Doug Barrowman said he and his wife Michelle Mone were being ‘hung out to dry’

Michelle Mone’s husband Doug Barrowman claims the UK Government has treated the couple like a “punchbag” over the PPE scandal.

In a statement issued via his wife’s Twitter/X account, Mr Barrowman claimed it “suits the agenda” of the UK Government to “scapegoat” him and his wife for their part in supplying items designed to protect against coronavirus infection through the firm PPE Medpro.

Mr Barrowman said his family has received death threats and a “torrent of abuse” after allegations surrounding PPE Medpro which was awarded £200m in contracts at the height of the Covid pandemic.

He  insisted it was nothing but “a commercial dispute” and denied any wrongdoing. He stated that PPE Medpro’s work was “no different” from 51 other suppliers that used the so-called VIP lane.

He claimed that the Government ordered “five years’ worth” of supply of PPE when it should have been four months’ worth and “yet no one has been held accountable” at the Department for Health.

He said it was “curious” the company he set up is the only one facing legal action when there are 176 other disputed Covid-era contracts. 

“I understand why the British public feel angry, but their anger should not be directed of Michelle or I,” Mr Barrowman stated.

The statement was issued after the couple confirmed their bank accounts had been frozen this year as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

The NCA is investigating allegations of conspiracy to defraud, fraud by false representation and bribery in relation to the company PPE Medpro.

The contracts for facemasks and surgical gowns, worth £203m, were awarded after Baroness Mone lobbied ministers on behalf of the firm.

Hospital gowns supplied by the firm were deemed unsuitable for use in the NHS, and the Government has since launched legal action against the firm in addition to the NCA probe.

PPE Medpro denies the allegation that gowns were unfit to use.

Mr Barrowman alleged that he’d been offered the chance to pay his way out of the legal trouble. He wrote: “What makes this case somewhat unique is the Government is also using the arm of the NCA (National Crime Agency) to threaten criminal proceedings unless we settle.

“We have tried to settle on numerous occasions and have been told to increase the figure before they are prepared to (in their words) ‘call the dogs off'”.

He went on to defend his wife, claiming that she didn’t directly benefit financially from the contracts. Mr Barrowman wrote: “Sorry to disappoint everyone, but Michelle and her kids were not entitled to any of that money.

“How I choose to organise my personal financial affairs is not a matter for public debate: however I will say this: as my wife, the ways in which I support Michelle financially or otherwise is entirely my decision.”

He added: “Michelle and I are being hung out to dry to distract attention from government incompetence in how it handled PPE procurement at a time of national emergency.”

Baroness Mone initially denied any involvement in the company, but documents leaked to The Guardian later revealed her husband had been paid £65m from PPE Medpro profits.

The documents also suggested £29m was transferred to an offshore trust from which Lady Mone could benefit.

In an interview with the BBC last month, Baroness Mone admitted lying to journalists about her connection to PPE Medpro in order to protect her family, and said “that’s not a crime”.

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